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Eugene A Stovall

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Why Cleopatra Definitely Not Black
By Eugene A Stovall
Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Rated "G" by the Author.

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Recent stories by Eugene A Stovall
· Debunking The 'scientific proof' of Cleopatra's Ancestry
· Egyptian Apologia
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There were seven Cleopatras associated with Eygpt's Ptolemaic Dynasty. Eygpt's last and most famous queen was Cleopatra VII. Although many afro-centric scholars including J.A. Rogers as well as celebrities such as Spike Lee maintain Cleopatra VII was a black woman, historical evidence leads most critical thinkers to a contrary opinion.


Eugene Stovall

Watching a local television program recently, I heard Spike Lee express his belief that Queen Cleopatra of Egypt was black. The African-American hostess of the TV show agreed with Mr. Lee saying “Cleopatra certainly looked nothing like Elizabeth Taylor”. But the historical facts contradict Spike Lee’s belief. Queen Cleopatra VII of Egypt [for indeed that was who Spike Lee was referring to] was definitely not black. And since I have dared to follow in the footsteps of that literary genius, Frank Yerby who was known as ‘debunker of historical myth’, I realized that I had to marshal the proofs of Queen Cleopatra’s ancestry that would satisfy any reasonable person that she was a white European.

Though not proof of her ancestry, Queen Cleopatra VII’s sluttish conduct cannot be admired by anyone interested in heralding the achievements of black culture. Cleopatra behaved shamefully in the furtherance of her ambitions. Her sole interest was to control the affairs of Rome from her bedchamber. She married both her younger and elder brothers and quickly arranged for their early deaths to consolidate her hold on the throne of Alexandria. She became the mistress of Pompey, Julius Caesar as well as Mark Antony, giving birth to a number of illegitimate Roman bastards. But in the end, her faithlessness to her Roman lovers caused her own demise. Cleopatra VII died a suicide. Her only accomplishment was to secure the wealth and labor of Egypt for the Roman imperium. It took the Prophet Muhammad to free Egypt from the European slavery imposed by this Greco-Macedonian woman.

The first proof of Cleopatra’s ancestry lies in the nature of the Ptolemaic dynasty, itself. It was as impossible for a black Egyptian to be a descendant of Ptolemy and sit on his throne as it was for a Jew to head up Hitler’s Death’s Head S.S. organization. And Cleopatra was the last of the Ptolemaic dynasty to rule Egypt. This dynasty emerged and perpetrated itself by intrigue, incest, conspiracy and murder. The Ptolemies ruled from the enclave fortress of Alexandria named for Alexander the Great. No one who was not Greek, Macedonian or a slave was even given free access to the city of Alexandria, not to mention the palace. The royal family of Ptolemies was as inbred as any European royalty and the name Cleopatra was reserved for the daughters of most noble of the Greco-Macedonian families.

The first Cleopatra was the niece of Attalus, a Macedonian noble and general. Philip, Alexander’s father, had an affair with Cleopatra. When she became pregnant, Attalus forced Philip to set aside Alexander’s mother, Olympias to marry his niece. Rather than give up the Macedonian throne to Cleopatra’s child, Olympias and Alexander hired Pausanias to assassinate Philip. Discovering how easy it was to gain the throne of Macedonia through murder, Alexander allowed his bloodlust to rage unchecked. He assaulted kingdoms in Greece and across the Aegean Sea in Persia, Armenia, Palestine, Assyria, Parthia, and finally into India. The conquered Persians were forced to relinquish their control of Egypt to the Macedonians. Whereupon Alexander established a great port city of Alexandria at the mouth of the Nile River easily accessible to both the Mediterranean and Red seas. Alexandria faced a great harbor and was connected by earthenworks to the Island of Pharos where a gigantic lighthouse was built. The beacon of this lighthouse stretched across the Mediterranean Sea and was visible from Crete and as far away as Greece. So marvelously engineered was the lighthouse that Pharos became known as one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Its purpose was to guide ships from Europe to Alexandria to carry away the treasures and bounty that the Macedonians had looted from temples and storehouses located all over Egypt.

In order to secure the transfer of African wealth to Europe, Alexander consulted the eunuch, Bagoas who had administered Egypt for Artaxerxes III. In orders to retain control over the Egyptian population, Bagoas recommend that Alexander declare himself a god and deny Egyptians access to Alexandria. Alexander followed the eunuch’s advice and not only did the looting of Egypt continue unhindered even in Alexander’s absence but it became a great European sanctuary affording the Europeans from Macedonia, Greece as well as all other parts of Alexander’s empire protection from and control over their Egyptian subjects. Alexandria became a European delight; every home in the city had running water, delivered by cisterns, and kept clean by slaves. There was such peace and tranquility established in Alexandria that over 500,000 precious books and scrolls from every part the Macedonian empire were delivered to a magnificent library where Greek scholars were invited to research the mysteries of man.

Alexander implemented the Greek notion of citizenship taught to him by Aristotle. No free, dark-skinned Egyptian was permitted entry into Alexandria. Only Egyptian servants and slaves were permitted. Alexander implemented the practice of castration among the slaves and servants. Castration was not new to Egyptians. Both the Egyptians and Numidians practiced castration on each other after their successive wars. In 1300 B.C. the Egyptians castrated over 13,000 Numidian prisoners of war. But now Alexander coined a new word for castrates. He called them eunouchos, keeper of the bedchamber. Thus, Egypt was brought low before its new Macedonia rulers. All administrative and political functions emanated from those who wielded power in Alexandria. The centuries-old Egyptian capitol of Thebes and the religious temples of Memphis which nestled in the bosom of mother Africa more than 500 miles to the south became ghost towns, museums of antiquity. Egyptian culture was relegated to the dustbin of history. From their new enclave of Alexandria, Europeans completely controlled all political and religious power in Egypt. And no African or Egyptian castrated slave sired any children in the European sanctuary of Alexandria. But then in 323 B.C., Alexander was murdered and his empire disintegrated into several pieces. Ptolemy, Alexander’s boyhood companion and general in Alexander’s army seized control of Egypt and thus the Ptolemaic dynasty was born. And some two hundred years later, Cleopatra VII became the last Ptolemaic ruler.

The first task Ptolemy had to accomplish after seizing control was to avoid internal conflicts, assassinations and conspiracies raging in all the other parts of Alexander’s empire. Ptolemy believed that his rule in Egypt would remain peaceful as long as Alexander remained a God. So Ptolemy resolved that the worship of Alexander would be kept intact. He created a death cult that worshipped the god, Serapis and the goddess Isis. Serapis was a fusion of Osiris and Apis. But since Alexandria was a European city the image of the god, Serapis had to be European. So Ptolemy sent his men to the town of Sinope which sat on the southern coast of the Black Sea to steal a huge Grecian statue which Ptolemy identified as the god, Serapis. It was from the town of Sinope that Diogenes came. Alexander had once said that if he had not been Alexander he would have wanted to be Diogenes. And Diogenes the Cynic had said: “Scruple not to perform the deeds of darkness in broad daylight.” Having secured the stolen image, Ptolemy housed the Sinopean statue in a great temple named the Serapion, which became a wonder and the site of pilgrimage for Europeans throughout the Mediterranean world. Ptolemy had the statue declared to be the god, Serapis, by the authority of a hierophant of the Eleusinian Mysteries and an Egyptian priest, Manetho. Serapis was enshrined as the dread god of Hades and his priests, the eunouchos, practiced ritualistic murder and other diabolical practices. And the worship of Serapis, known as the god of the living dead, and Isis became so successful for the Ptolemies that in the 5th century A.D. Macrobius says in his Saturnalia that: “In the city on the borders of Egypt which boasts Alexander of Macedon as its founder, Sarapis (sic) and Isis are worshipped with a reverence that is almost fanactical.” And indeed the pilgrims took this savage worship back to Europe where in the fifteenth century A.D. it found adherents among those opposing Egyptian culture personified by the Ottomans in the wilds of Transylvania.

Empowered by this new religion and protected by their army of castrates, the first three Ptolemies were able to peacefully plunder Egypt without any undo interference from the native Egyptians. But this peaceful interlude was shattered sometime during the reign of Ptolemy IV as the discovery of the Rosetta Stone demonstrates. Because it was then that the Macedonian plunderers learned how to translate the Egyptian hieroglyphics into Greek and as they began to unlock the secrets of the pyramids, the Ptolemies learned of new sources of fabulous wealth. From that time onward, the dynasty had to fight off attempts by Alexander’s other descendants and nobles, the Seleucids of Syria and the Antigonids of Greece, to grab Egypt’s newly found treasures for themselves. Rome also began to covet the wealth of Egypt and began to conspire with the Seleucids and Antigonids against the Ptolemies. No outrage was too great, no sacrilege too unholy for the Ptolemies to keep control. Ptolemy IV, himself, murdered his mother, his brother and his uncle to stay on the throne. In order to withstand these conspiracies, the beleaguered Ptolemies needed the assistance of several Cleopatras.

Ptolemy V married Queen Cleopatra, daughter of Antiochus, king of Greece, but to no avail. He was poisoned in 181. Ptolemy VI married Queen Cleopatra II of the noble Seleucid family. His brother Ptolemy VII had him killed and then married his widow. Afterwards Ptolemy VII had Cleopatra II, his brother’s widow killed and he married Cleopatra III, his niece, the daughter of his murdered brother and his murdered wife. Ptolemy VIII ruled jointly with his mother Cleopatra III. But his mother Queen Cleopatra III dethroned him in favor of her younger son Ptolemy IX. After the coup, Ptolemy IX promptly had his mother, Queen Cleopatra III, murdered. Cleopatra IV and Cleopatra V were daughters of Cleopatra III and Ptolemy VII. Ptolemy XI son of Ptolemy VIII and Cleopatra V had children, Ptolemy XII, Ptolemy XIII, Berenice VI, Arsinoe IV, Cleopatra VI and Queen Cleopatra VII the last ruler of the Ptolemaic dynasty. Guarded within the royal enclave of Alexandria by eunuchs, both guards and priests, initiated into the Eleusinian mysteries and adherents to the practices of a European death cult with its foundational commitment to racism, all of these Cleopatras were of noble birth and direct descendants of Macedonian families. None of them, least of all Queen Cleopatra VII were black.

It was the historian, J. A. Rogers who made the assertion that Queen Cleopatra was black in his work, World’s Great Men of Color . A scholar who did pioneering research in the area of black history, Rogers is responsible for bringing a sense of pride to black people when whites were depicting African-Americans as ‘sambos’ and ‘coons’. However, in this case, Rogers is wrong. The reason that white scholarship has not been more forceful in disproving his thesis is that they would have to admit to a death cult that still exists and reveal how theories of enclaves and segregation are imposed using religious principles for the purposes of colonization and oppression. It is these principles that can be used to trace European … as well as Islamic … expansion throughout history. In this case Rogers makes a number of errors that leads him to the wrong conclusion. Rogers incorrectly identifies Ptolemy XIII as Queen Cleopatra’s father. This mistake results from his identifying Soter II as Ptolemy XI instead of Ptolemy VIII. In reality, the father of Queen Cleopatra VII is actually Ptolemy XI. Ptolemy XIII who Rogers identifies as Cleopatra’s father is actually her brother. Rogers also states that there are no bonafide portraits of Cleopatra . This may be true in the strictest sense; however, there are plenty of pictures of Queen Cleopatra VII. For me the most striking picture of her is on a coin that she, herself, minted. On one side of the coin is the face of Mark Antony, on the opposite is Cleopatra’s face rendered in a classical Grecian image. The only way it could be argued that Cleopatra VII was black is to say that she deliberately gave herself a European image.

One of the most effective arguments against the notion that Cleopatra was black comes from contemporary sources. When Julius Caesar took Cleopatra back to Rome with him the last Punic War had been concluded less than one hundred years. Romans as well as Italians still remembered how Hannibal, a black man, had ravaged their country and how they avoided total starvation only through the goodwill of Ptolemy who supplied Rome with wheat. Cato was not alone in his opinion that “it was the right way to bring Rome to flourish, when noble-born citizens would not suffer mean-born men and upstarts … to go before them in honor…”. Certainly there would have been some protest against Caesar’s Numidian mistress as she would have been called. But none was raised. Cleopatra was accepted for what she was the Macedonian Queen of Egypt. But her attempt to make Caesar a king ended with his assassination. Certainly, if she had been black, someone would have mentioned it. And again when Plutarch describes Cleopatra’s beauty, he makes no mention of her being black. “Now her beauty (as it is reported) was not so passing, as unmatchable of other women, nor yet such as upon present view did enamor men with her …” .

There is one reference to Cleopatra VII from Plutarch that should be considered. When Octavian and Mark Antony squared off against each other in a war that will decide whether Rome or Egypt will be the center of power of the new European empire, Plutarch reports that Octavian thought little of Mark Antony chances. Caesar, correctly as it turned out, believed that Cleopatra’s domination of Antony would be his undoing despite his superior military force. In ridiculing Mark Anthony, Plutarch says: “And Caesar said furthermore, that Anthony was not master of himself, but Cleopatra has brought him beside himself by her charms and amorous poisons, and [Anthony’s war council is made up of] Mardian the eunuch … and Iras, a woman of Cleopatra’s bed chamber that frizzled [Cleopatra’s] hair and dressed her head …”. But Plutarch explains why Cleopatra needed her hair ‘frizzled’. When they appeared in public, Plutarch describes the dress of Cleopatra’s sons and then that of the queen, herself: “… she brought out Alexander in a long gown after the fashion of the Medes, with a high copped tank hat on his head, narrow in the top, as the kings of the Medes and Armenians do use to wear them; and Ptolemy appeared in a cloak after the Macedonian manner , with slippers on his feet and a broad hat, and old attire of the ancient kings and successors of Alexander the Great. “… Now for Cleopatra, she did not only wear at that time, but at all other times else when she came abroad, the apparel of the goddess Isis, and so gave audience unto all her subjects as a new Isis.” Queen Cleopatra was an initiate into the Eleusinian mysteries and the high priestess of the Ptolemaic death cult dedicated to the god Serapis as depicted by the cynic Diogenes. No black woman could have been initiated into these rites as a high priestess of those mysteries that have been the foundation of white European culture from ancient times to the present.


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Reviewed by K.M. Johnson 1/20/2010
Question? Are all blacks dark-skinned?
Reviewed by Lloyd Lofthouse 8/28/2009
Of course, Cleopatra was not black. Her linage was Greek. The Nubians came from Upper Egypt and only one of the known pharaohs was black and that was hundreds if not thousands of years before Alexander the Great. After Alexander the Great died, Ptolemy, one of Alexander's generals and a close friend from his childhood became the pharaoh of Egypt and ruled Egypt for decades. After Alexander, his generals divided the empire. Ptolemy took Egypt to rule and he was more successful than Alexander's others generals.
The Ptolemaic Dynasty lasted hundreds of years until the famous Cleopatra of Caesar fame died. She was the last of Ptolemy's line to rule Egypt. Ptolemy was a Greek and there is archeological evidence that many Greeks came to live in Alexandria around this time and stayed on. Since the Ptolemys were known to intermarry within their family (brothers to sisters and cousins to cousins), it makes sense that they were more Greek than African. In fact, the Greeks had been colonizing the shores of the Eastern Mediterranean for centuries.
I saw one comment that mentioned how much the Jews suffered in Egypt. The Jews did not arrive in Egypt as slaves. They arrived and were given sanctuary as free men with a promise from the Pharaoh at that time that they could leave whenever they wanted.
Again, archeological evidence shows that the Jews were welcomed to Egypt and stayed for hundreds of years as craftsmen. Some evidence points to the fact that the Jews may have been the builders of the pyramids. It was later, nearer Moses time, that they became more like indentured servants and the freedom to leave that had been there for centuries was taken away by another pharaoh who had forgotten or did not care what the first pharaoh promised when the Jews first arrived in Egypt hundreds of years earlier (at God's directions by the way) to live under the safety of the Pharaohs.
Then of course, when Moses asked the pharaoh (during his time) to let his people go, the pharaoh agreed. Then God visited that pharaoh while the pharaoh was sleeping and hardened his heart so he would go back on his word. Read the Old Testament to learn the rest.
Reviewed by carol proffitt 7/23/2009
i am not the smartest person nor do i claim to be. but i can tell you this. you can not claime relation to one of the most engaging and talked about people as cleo. if as they say cleo was black than they have to take the good with the bad, what am i talking about? the slavery of the jewish people. for thousands of years the jewish people were slaves to the egyptian people. they were starved, beaten, tourtured, killed. i think it is safe to say that the millions of jews that were born into slavery by the egyptions were not treated well. well that would mean that the black people held slaves for thousands of years, and should open there pocket books and give restatutuion to all of the jewish people. because if you want to lay claim to the heritage than you have to take the bitter with the sweet. and from my understanding cleo was not a trust worthy.thaat she was a cheep tramp by today standards and she ran her land by spreading her legs and sleeping around.there is your heritage.
Reviewed by Green Sorceress 7/23/2009
Sorry Eugene I disagree with your theory of Cleopatra being European. Her father was first married to Cleopatra V, he either repudiated her or she died since she is not mentioned after 69 BC. He then married an Egyptian-Persian noblewoman. He himself was Greco-Macedonian and Egyptian. Cleopatra's mother and paternal grandmother both disappeared from history which gives some suspicion to them black. You are right when you speak of Alexandria being a city that Egyptian subjects were not allowed to go and to the library and the temples. However, the Egyptians did not want to go to their temples where the Ptolemies worshipped Pharonic gods. It was like a slap in the face to the Egyptians to learn from racist Greeks about their own religion. The Ptolemies were definitely like Europeans in a sense that they took black peoples customs and turned them into their own, since they are the masters of plagiarism. However, it fair to say that the Ptolemies were not as perfect as you may think. Cleopatra herself did not have children by Ptolemy men and as you know Julius Caesar and Marcus Antoinius were no Ptolemies. Cleopatra also learned Egyptian language which accounts for her mother being Egyptian. Furthermore, Aleutiteces if I'm spelling his name correctly established a close friendship with the high priest of Pasharaptah a black man. It is said that this friendship was sealed through a political marriage to the high priest's daughter. So the Ptolemies were not as perfect as you think. And please do not make these comments about Cleopatra definitely not Black to please white people who need to believe she was white as they do with everyone from history as being white regardless of nationality and continent. Lastly, trying to determine Cleopatra's race by looking at her coin is like looking at her silouette. You cannot determine her race because any light skinned black woman could have those features or any other woman of color. Oh, yes, and for the person who said Hannibal was white, you need help. Hannibal was no white man and had intentions of breeding out Europeans which he almost succeeded. Have you looked at some of the Italians, Greeks, Spaniards, Portugeuse and other Europeans lately? Some of them look pretty dark to me to be so racist towards black people. LOL
Reviewed by John Martin 12/11/2007
Not that it makes a difference, she is dead after all, but you are certainly correct. She was descended from Ptolemy, Alexander’s general, a Greek. She was in the Royal Blood Line, and even were there a bastard in there somewhere, bastards were never accepted as Royalty and placed in line to the throne. It would be a foolish head of state indeed, that would try to force upon the people a bastard in line to inherit the Realm. It would have opened many claims, resulting in many devastating civil wars, it just wasn’t done. You have done an excellent job of documenting the facts accurately. Unfortunately, these day, thanks to the “Improbable History Channel?” and the current “Experts”, there is more historical truth in Mr. Peabody and Sherman’s accounts, then there are in the newly written historical record. Say, for those of you who are re-writing history, while you are making George Washington a former African Slave, could you put me in there as the Heir to The Irish Throne. I'd feel really good about the improvement to my image.
Reviewed by Renee G 11/12/2007
None of that "proof" is proof enough. Egypt is in Africa, the "dark" continent. They didn't call it "dark" for no reason. Its inhabitants were all dark-skinned people, mostly dark and black. Included in those black-colored inhabitants of Africa was also Egypt, where it's original inhabitants at one time were ALL black. Egypt was later conquered by some European countries, as were nearly all the nations in the continent of Africa, but it's ancestral inhabitants back in Cleo's time were most definitely and without a doubt all dark-skinned people. Those who have been treated as the Indians in this nation were still ARE dark-skinned (black) people. Your argument is thoroughly flawed and incorrect.
Reviewed by jason charles 10/13/2007
I find your argument to be flawed from an American perspective at best. You mentioned Mr. Lee's perceived political correctness however, you fail to acknowledge your own. The fact remains that many Americans as evidenced in your politically correct movies believe that every ancient civilization was inhabited by Northern Europeans. When ever this false default ideology is challenged you cry PC. I recently saw 300 and was simply dismayed by the depiction of the Spartans as Northern europeans. As someone who has actually spent time studying Acient Eygpt in Luxor, Aswan, Cairo, and Alexandria, I am constantly amused by the American attempts to rewrite history and whiten the ancient Eygptians. The Ptolemaic dynasty itself which was in actuality a marriage between the Nubian/cush capitals in Luxor and Greeks in Alexandria to counter Persian incursion, consisted of but a mere fraction of the Egyptian history and an even smaller portion of its greatness as Egypt was well in decline when the Alexander stepped foot in the land. The truth is a serious thing and can not be covered up and the truth is that Europeans since the colonial era have tried mask the face of black Egypt however the hieroglyphs,Statues inside the Pyramids in Cairo and the tombs in the valley of the kings in Luxor and the temples in Aswan in Sudan don't lie. So Mr. American the political correctness that you speak of is on that is alive and well in American Media who turned King Tut into a monster in the 30's, depicted all 30 Cleopatra's as blond haired blue eyed, and recently in 300 depicted the Persians of Iran as Black Africans. And Sir your article only furthers the percerption of American ignorance. And before you posters start talking about arabs in Cairo get your history correct, Arabs invaded in 600 ad much the same way the English invaded North America and no one assumes Dick Chenney is a good representation of a Navajo Chief.

Thank you,

Jason- Professor American University -Eypgt
Reviewed by Franco Addario 10/2/2007
I was born in Rome, and grew up over there, and on our history books show Hannibal's statue around Italy, and you can see defitely is a caucasian, besides racism was not factor in antiquity, because the law of the strongest was counting; if you were black, oriental, or white but you lost a war, you are automatic a slave. Get you history from someone whose is not biased or influenced by political correctness. Thank you
Reviewed by Jerry Engler 8/12/2007
Very interesting essay,Eugene. I would agree with your evidence that as a descendant of the ptolemies, Cleopatra wasn't black. Unfortunately, I think such assertions enter our American culture in efforts to correct the abuses due to ethnic background. Because we wish it was so does not make it so, and you are to be commended for your thinking. I would disagree with your assertion of Islam as a liberating force for Egypt, and, in fact, would myself list it as another oppressive force that took over that country. I would guess that Egyptians today probably have the most liberty ever in their history, even though it isn't perfect.That is partly the opinion of my in-laws who spent time living in Egypt. I would hope that our primary aim in investigating history becomes the truth rather than our agendas...Jerry

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